‘Pathetic’ Intersection of Routes 537 and 34 getting long-awaited upgrade
COLTS NECK — Considered the most congested intersection in Monmouth County, the cross between Routes 537 and 34 could be just weeks away from the start of a major overhaul.
Work to add lanes, replace nearby bridges and implement other fixes is expected to begin sometime in September — not a moment too soon, if you ask county freeholder director Lillian Burry.
"It becomes gridlock here, it just doesn't move," Burry told New Jersey 101.5. "It's pretty pathetic."
Burry, who has an office nearby and a bird's eye view of the daily chaos, has been pushing for upgrades to the busy intersection for nearly two decades, she said. Burry also served as mayor, deputy mayor and a committee member for Colts Neck.
In August, a $17.5 million contract — about $4 million cheaper than officials anticipated — was awarded to Rencor, Inc., of Somerville.
Burry noted the federal government will cover the majority of costs associated with the project. The county will handle approximately $172,000 for expenses such as police protection for traffic control, and that money will be taken from the county's share of Transportation Trust Fund dollars.
"I'm delighted to be at this point where we've awarded a bid to get this work done," Burry said. "My statement always was, 'In my lifetime, please,' and here I am."
Burry said a few businesses that would be impacted by the project have been compensated, and there's a sharp focus on keeping traffic moving as the project unfolds. Most of the work will occur after 10 p.m., she said.
Work is expected to take about two years to complete. The New Jersey Department of Transportation says it will monitor the project on a periodic basis, as Route 34 is a state road.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.